…Protesters cruise on Federal Roads with football match, Fela’s music
By Moses Adeniyi
The Senate, on Tuesday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately address the Federation on the heightening nationwide protests, urging the Presidency to faithfully and comprehensively implement all the five demands of the #EndSARS movement and protesters. The call was in response to protests on Tuesday that took more elaborate and violent form as dogged youths defying all plea and orders took to the highways and streets across the Country
The Upper Chamber which stated that addressing the nation would douse the the heating of the polity arising from the lingering protests, also directed the police to offer protection to the #ENDSARS protesters to prevent hoodlums from hijacking their genuine action.
The red Chamber has also called on the police and other security agencies to operate strictly in accordance with the rules of engagement appropriate to a democratic environment that abjures the use of aggressive and brutal force against peaceful protesters.
Resolutions of the Senate trailed a motion sponsored by Senator Biodun Olujimi, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Ekiti South and co-sponsored by 103 other Senators.
Although, the ongoing demonstrations narrowly took off on the hashtag of #ENDSARS, leaving the Government with no choice than to dissolve the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) accused of gross brutality against citizens, the scope of the campaign has however, grown to a movement of varying demands.
On Tuesday, protests were heightened in Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Akwa-Ibom, Enugu, Edo, Taraba, Abuja, among States, with demands of end to bad governance.
Protesters echoing slogans for resignation of the President dominated the outcry in many demonstration gatherings across the Country.
More than prior experiences in the past days of the protest which has lasted for two weeks, the demonstration in Lagos and it’s neighbouring Ogun State took a very unusual form with heavy mobilisation.
The experience in Lagos was such that grounded economic activities to the background, as commuters were stranded in heavy gridlock, while thousands resort to their heels to find their ways through to their destinations, with long distance trek.
As early as 7:00 A.M. Tuesday morning, dogged youths had barricaded all routes leading to the State secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, the State Capital, while the siege on the State House was maintained.
Hundreds of Protesters, who barricaded all entrances to the State House of Assembly and the State House, spent their time cruising with solidarity songs led by trumpeters and brigade-drummers.
Beyond the usual outings, protesters who barricaded both highways and inner routes, in places such as Agege, Ikeja, Ogba, Ojodu-Berger, Ikotun-Igando, Ikorodu, Egbeda, Isolo, Alapere, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Lagos-Badagry Expressway, among many others were giving vibe to their protests mostly with late Afrobeat Star, Fela Kuti’s songs.
While in some areas live musical shows were staged by protesters, some did not hesitate to use some sections of major highways as football pitch; a development that led to a total breakdown of vehicular movement.
The usually busy Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway was a sour to motorists and commuters, as there were various sessions of barricades at close intervals along the route, with stages of music performance to express demonstrations and displeasure against bad governance.
Between Abule-Egba (Lagos) and Sango (Ogun State) section of the Expressway, no less than 10 barricades sessions were staged at very close intervals by irate youths, some of whom used the opportunity to squeeze money from few motorists granted permission to continue with their journey.
Elder-women join protests
However, elderly women are gradually showing interests in the protests as some aggrieved mothers calling for stronger mobilisation, stormed some protests scenes to express their grievances over worsened conditions in the Country.
At a protest scene at Magodo, an elderly woman who spoke on behalf of her age group lamented how conditions have worsened from 1970s, when life was more admirable in the Country, to the present situation of hardship. An aged woman joining the protests in Sango area of Ogun State, was sighted with a placard reading “Come Out In Millions And Fight For Your Right”.
However in a confrotational disregard to the curfew order, #ENDSARS protesters were adamant to retreat as they sustained siege on metropolitan roads within the State.
Protesters in Ojodu-Berger area of the State, while defying the order mobilised for a cow and bags of rice to stage a carnival on barricaded road, as they took to cooking and dancing to various kinds of music.
Protests in Lagos took violent turn in Orile-Iganmu area on Tuesday, as irate Protesters believed to be hoodlums, resorted to vandalizing properties, including cars and buildings, while attacks were meted-out on some commuters.
While protests in Ebute-meta was reported to be violent, Policemen resorted to sprays of gunshots to disperse protesters at Lekki-Toll gate protests scene on Tuesday night, following the curfew imposed by the State Government.
Protests also took violent turn in Oyo, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, and Edo, among other States where the protests have risen to heightened form.
Other States were the Governments have imposed curfew to frustrate the ongoing protests include, Plateau, Ekiti, Abia, Edo, among others.
NYC increases demands
Protest on Tuesday took broader demands as the National Youth Council, (NYC) stormed the National Assembly, calling on President Buhari to immediately sack all the Service Chiefs.
The NYC in a 7-point demand made the call that the issues must be addressed by the government if it hopes to calm frayed nerves and end the on-going #ENDSARS protests.
The protesters who for several hours, laid a siege on the main entrance of the National Assembly; demanding to speak with the leadership, had gathered at the Unity Fountain as early as 8a.m. till evening from where they marched on the popular Shehu Shagari Way enroute the Three Arms Zone to the National Assembly.
The NYC protesters had in solidarity joined another group of protesters; the National Association of University Students who had mounted siege outside the National Assembly; calling for an end to the protracted strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
As part of its demands; the NYC requested the Federal Government to waive the tuition fees of University students to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on their parents.
Meanwhile, as at the time of filing this report, the number of casualties that trailed the police attack on Protesters at Lekki-Toll Gate, Lagos, last night was yet to be confirmed..